15 Sep 2012

How to stop this persistent sin?

Submitted by theshovel
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I was searching through the net when I came across your blog, I read how you dealt with another person, it was quite straight forward and you did not sooth the message to make it go easy. see this is what I want now in my life, I have kept on doing the same sin over and over. this really frustrates me now since I don’t know how to stop. With your wisdom, please help me to understand Christ message better so I can be able to defeat temptations. its really taking a toll on me. How do I stop this persistent sin? Isaac

Hello Isaac, thanks for writing. :) Right up front, you need to realize that more understanding of a how-to nature often only brings more problems. Now, I realize that you may not be asking for that kind of understanding, but I wanted to get it out of the way first. The reason I say this is that Christians have too often been taught to expect results for fulfilling certain criteria, such as learning the principles, following the right formulas and principles. Ironically, many of our problems have only been stirred up by the “Christian” or Scriptural formulas we’ve adopted. Please know that I am not going to offer you the “right” way to defeat sin, for that very thinking helps to promote it. Christ is true life, and the way it works out is sometimes not as we’d like it to be. I’m not suggesting that Christ is in any way powerless to bring real freedom in your life. Quite the contrary, for his life is the only true freedom. Everything else is at best, a band-aid. Consider this prayer as recorded by Paul to the Ephesians:

…that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:17-21

Do you hear the truth of the power that works in us now? It is the same power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the heavenly places. This freedom we have in Christ is not at all likened to the logical approach we’ve learned in the world … not even from the religious world. The persistent sins and habits that still frustrate us after years of trying to defeat them are often bound to our “Christian” perceptions and belief systems. Oh no, you’re not going to find them necessarily described that way, but that is the nature of the deception. I know what it is to have built a protective covering for my own sins within the very teachings that condemned and denounced them on the surface. I suspect that you are struggling with the very same kind of thing. Are you interested to continue with this? If so, please tell me how any of this hits you. I await your reply, Jim Minker :)

Hey Jim! Thanks for your reply. I’d like to continue with this since I now realise that talking about it more often kinda helps, not that all those persistent thoughts that hover in my mind leave its just that I’m capable of controlling them. I wont say I have anyway to deal with this or any strategy I have tried almost every possible way I know to no success. I believe you have worked with many people struggling with the same problem, so I hope you know how to not only help me see freedom but also to know my Lord even more better. Cause I really want to honour Him with both my body and mind, not because I have to but because I want to and I love to. To tell you the truth, I don’t even know what to ask from you. So any advice you have please do not hold it back from me…even if it might seem harsh. I’m willing to learn. Isaac

Hello Isaac, There is fantastic reality, described in Romans 8, that I think we easily overlook:

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– Romans 8:11-12

Much Christian teaching has been built around the premise that we are still under obligation to the flesh. Of course, it doesn’t come across as boldly as I’ve just stated it, but the truth is that many of us have given into the constant demand that as Christians we are merely saved sinners. Basically, this means that we really can’t help it when we give into our sinful natures … except that we should try to fight those tendencies and find victory through Jesus. We falsely imagine that our sincerity and dedication to God can get us over the hump … at least in what we see as the really big areas of sin. Despite all our sincere sounding terminology, what it all boils down to is that we really believe we are obligated to sin. I mean, when you fall back into your own bad habits, are you really shocked … or are you more and more convinced that you’re going to do it again? In other words, you kind of expect it of yourself, don’t you? Jim

Hello Jim. To answer your question, I do expect that what I’ve just done I’m gonna do it again. Sometimes I feel frustrated with these actions, because its starting to feel like I’m doing it deliberately. Which I think I am really. Now I know this might seem to soon to be true but talking with you about this kinda deals with it automatically, Thank you…Jim, for listening. Isaac




This is a very powerful exchange. I really liked how you began to hint at the fact that these 'Christian commandments' cause the the very impulses we are trying so hard to overcome.



“Basically, this means that we really can't help it when we give into our sinful natures”-jIm

I actually DO believe this to be true in fact. It is the uncontrollable reality and outcome of law running through the flesh. It creates impulses that we CAN'T help but, have rise up in us. To have to put our mind on the flesh to correct it's ways would in this case, be DEATH. It doesn't go anywhere, It's end is death and worthily so.

My flesh does NOT have the power to control sinful desires. Nor does the fleshly wisdom engrained in the teachings of men. If Christ gave me His freedom then why would I turn back to a fleshly course or even have any thought of debt toward the flesh? The flesh was paid for. My ransom paid. I do not owe. I am not a debtor. I have the life of God running it's course in me and though I still get tripped up and may even do something silly from time to time, I am still no debtor to the flesh. Rather I learn from all of those things as I go through em.


”..I don't know how to stop.” - user

“So I find this to be a principle: when I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me.” Romans 7:21

The solution to Paul's frustration was NOT found in the how-to sphere of thinking. It was in fact this very mind that perpetuated the illusion of bondage. His freedom came through the realization that testified to the reality that the possibility of failure was completely removed once and for all. This was not an isolated religious, ordinance-keeping issue. Because in the same way that the fleshly how-to mindset had been all-encompassing in his life, touching upon every thing he ever did, so also now this new reality consumed the fleshly mind in itself, triumphing in victory over it, abolishing forever the profanity of its very fundamentals. The life of Christ apprehends in itself far more than my mind can imagine.

theshovel's picture

That’s powerful, my friend! :)

But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh– Romans 8:11-12


Instead of this passage being some far off statement about heaven and new bodies, what if this were a simple statement of reality in the here and now? If Christ's Spirit dwells in you now, then life works in us, our mortal bodies. Knowing this, are we to then monitor and fix the flesh? Why would we do that??! If we live as ones who need to work on the flesh, we will die! But if we who are His rely on His Spirit to do the walkin and talkin we shall live. Our “obligation” is not to put our trust in the flesh but, it is to rely on the Spirit for this rescue, this Life. His Life is the ONLY thing that has power over the misdeeds of flesh.



theshovel's picture

Excellent, my brother! :)

I have spent some time today looking at the good question, and excellent comments. The word "obligation" caught my attention, and wasn't quite cutting it for me....just too matter of fact, or something. Jim gave me a better feel for it when he said....... Much Christian teaching has been built around the premise that we are still under obligation to the flesh......
Then he said........Basically, this means that we really can't help it when we give into our flesh........ But Scripture clearly states that we are not in this state, but have been brought into the freedom of His Son. I went to the original word used, and the first definition is "debt", and then, owe, to be bound or obligated by what is due, or fitting, or consequently necessary, duty, obligated as one who must or ought. Wow guys, is it not for this freedom we have been set free and since He has set us free are we not free indeed!!!! (As Georgie brought out in his reply)

One other thing I found, the word obligated in Romans 12, is used in noun form. Isn't that saying, we are not the ones who are, as to who they are, obligated to the flesh? Wow again, we're talking about total freedom, and walking in the "identity" purchased for us.

Excited about "The Truth", and seeing His truth............. Julie

Maybe the truth is that we may still be 'under the Law'. Like the Jews, who found their 'security' from the Law, we prefer the old ways to the new, as when they wanted to go back to Egypt rather than the new freedom God offered, and preferred the bogus 'security' of the 'regulations' to the Gospel of the Lord.
Many Christians are just like that...it was the struggle Luther faced as well. The Law of course, DOES offer a kind of 'security', but it can NEVER free you from sin. In fact, Paul goes one stage further..."Sin" he says in Corinthians, "gets its POWER (astonishingly!) FROM THE LAW!!!" We do NOT want to die, neither to the world, nor to ourselves, so we hang onto a religion which becomes all about 'being good', and the more we try to 'be good', the more we fail, because that kind of 'goodness' is at the same level as that of the Pharisees, and won't take us to Heaven. This is because we are still trying to 'be good' ON OUR OWN, by practicing 'muscular christianity' or 'Pelagianism', the heresy of thinking you can 'pull yourself up by your own bootstraps'. And God will just not allow us to offer Him that kind of 'goodness' when He's offered us another way...the way of DYING to our old self in Christ. I'm still struggling with this too, so guys, pray for me too.

theshovel's picture

Hello Terry, thanks for posting. Oh yes, way too many Christians are struggling with trying to keep some form of the law. One thing you may want to consider is that the secret to dying to our old self is found in the reality that we already have been made to die to it in Christ! The struggle is only found within the perception of those who have already died and made alive in Christ. :)


My heart is for you Terry. As Jim said, despite appearances we are indeed dead to the Law.



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